I Am a Pet Changeling

by Queen Sanguine Dreams

Sharing Secrets

"Right..." Rough trailed, adjusting their seating on the couch to listen better to what I had to say. "Canterlot."

I could go about explaining this several ways. If I chose the honest route, I had some idea that these not-minotaur would react in the same way as a pony would; outrage and fear. Nevermind that as a lowly tunneler, I had very little to do with the actual stealing of love itself. I simply lead the warriors towards the targets I had been told prior to the invasion. A simple task at the time that had turned difficult with that wave of pink from the castle itself. I could lie, as there would obviously be nopony or changeling around to deny anything I said, yet I was not chosen to be an infiltrator. That task required a complex mind able to manipulate and remember every lie they had ever said and every action they had performed. My standard tasks for the day were summarized as 'dig here'.

I rested my shapeshifted head on the table, my ears folding down as I looked up to Rough's face. How would I explain this without lying, but also without being discarded? They had only known me for a day, yet I was a novelty to them as well. I doubt if I simply left that I would find another not-minotaur that would be able to keep my secret, as I could only tolerate being transformed for short periods of time. Yet another ability of the Infiltrators: comfortable shifting. They could remain in the same guise for years at a time without removing their disguise, through both conditioning, training and practice. I had none of these skills, as I had only shapeshifted a few times prior to leaving the hive for the main invasion. Smaller gougers tend to avoid eating 'rocks' when there are other tunnelers to devour. Not that I liked being a rock.

"Blue, you alright?" Rough asked, waving a hand in front of my face.

"I don't know how to explain this..." I said honestly. "It is a very complicated subject."

"Just lay it on me, Blue. I'm sure it ain't that bad." Rough reassuringly replied.

I involuntarily whined in place of what would have been chittering, were I in my regular form. How do I explain this? Portray myself as a savior? I did technically prevent a roof from collapsing in, but that was only to ensure the nobility was captured later on. It also wouldn't explain how I landed here, either. 'Oh, you know, I was busy saving the day because I'm a good changeling. Then, all of a sudden, a giant wave of pink smacked me senseless and here I am!'... No, that wouldn't work at all. Even if that were to work, I would have to remember every detail and relay that story from then on, for the rest of my life. It's just not practical. I would be found out eventually.

"You two having some fun?" Soul asked, retrieving plates from Rough's side of the table. "Well, at least one of you is..." They tutted, a slim frown and sympathetic look directed towards me. "What's got Blue all sad?"

"Ah... she must be missing Maria, I guess." Rough quickly explained. "Did I already pay for the food, or did I forget again?" They asked, patting their coat pockets for something.

Soul placed a hand on Rough's shoulder, causing them to pause. "It's fine, honey. Ya'll ready paid me. You two should go outside and get a breath of fresh air or something. It's good for you!"

I hopped from the couch before Rough could object, as this would give me a final moment to decide before we were both outdoors. Rough slid from their seat and followed after me, thanking Soul for their time and good food before moving ahead of me to open the door with a chime. Exiting onto the street with Rough leading the way, I waited until no other listening ears were around.

"So... about Canterlot..." I hesitantly began, "I'm not trained to be an infiltrator, so lying to you would be pointless and just upset you."

"Lyin'?" Rough asked, stopping suddenly. "What do you have to lie about?" A smirk spread across Rough's face, "Blue, you're an alien from outer space. If you're havin' this much trouble tryin' to explain this to me, then how 'bout I tell you about myself?"

I looked at Rough in surprise.

"It might not seem like it now, but back when I was a kid I was a real trouble maker. Well, part of a gang of trouble makers, actually." Rough held up their hand, "Nothin' like robbin' old ladies or stores or anything like that, just petty stuff." They lowered their hand to press a button and continued speaking while we waited for a street light. "So myself and a few other guys; Ricardo, Jason, Vinnie and Andrews; we all got together after school to entertain ourselves. Tagging street corners with spray paint, printing out naked pictures to tape them over stop signs, things like that."

The light changed to allow passage, and we began walking across the street. "So, one day, things get a little out of hand. Ricardo suggests that we do something a little more adventurous, a little more dangerous. Our usual activities aren't getting us the same thrills, ya know? He wants to get some homeless guy to buy us beer. Pretty simple, nothing too outlandish or criminal, aside from us being too young to legally drink. The problem came when Ricardo actually found a homeless guy. He asked 'em; guy didn't want to do it. We had money to pay him for when he was done, too. Well, Ricardo didn't take too kindly to being turned down after lookin' for someone all day, and things got more than a little violent. He started smacking the homeless guy around because he was upset; thought that maybe if he just roughed em up a little, the homeless guy'd see things his way, right?" We had reached the other side of the street by now, and were walking down along a path past several storefronts. "Well, turns out this homeless guy wasn't a pushover drunk like Ricardo had been expecting. Guy was a retired boxer. When things got ugly, Jason, Vinnie and Andrews didn't know what to do. Jumping in to help might get them beaten up worse than Ricardo, right? So they bolted, left Ricardo all alone with the crazy homeless guy." Rough then stopped, crouched and placed a hand on my back. "You know what happened to Ricardo?"

I shook my head in the negative.

"Well, Ricardo stopped getting beaten up after a while; curled into a ball on the ground to avoid the worst of it. The homeless guy didn't stop because of the kindness of his soul, no. He stopped because he was having a heart attack. Ricardo had worked up the poor guy's blood pressure and his heart couldn't take it. The old man fell to the ground, clutching at his chest and gasping in pain." Rough then looked me in the eyes, overwhelming regret and sorrow coming from him in waves. "Young Ricardo didn't know what to do, but he had a phone. He called the police, the ambulance, the fire fighters, anyone that'd listen and pick up the phone for that old man. He might've been beaten to a pulp, but he didn't want nobody dying cause he was a prick, right? Well..." Rough looked away and stood up. "Things didn't work out that well." They motioned for me to follow them as Rough looked away from me and continued their story. "By the time police and the ambulance got there, the old guy was already gone. They asked Ricardo what happened... and he just lied. Lied and lied and lied and lied. They never found out what really happened, or why Ricardo looked so beaten up and why the old man had bloody knuckles. Not from a lack of trying, but from a lack of concern. Nobody knew him, nobody had seen him in the city before. It was obvious that Ricardo had somethin' to do with it, but why bother? This was back before we had all moved here to this tiny town in the middle of nowhere. No, this was a massive city, where nobody cared 'bout no one."

"So, little Blue, what's your story?" Rough asked abruptly.

"Ah-I... uh..." I stammered, being caught off guard.

"Come on, it can't be that bad. You kill anybody in Canterlot? I've known a few guys that've gone to prison for murder."

"I... well, I was part of an Invasion, and-"

"An invasion!? Nooo, I never would'a guessed that an alien would be part of an invasion, Blue! Come on now." Rough sarcastically interrupted. "Get any good lookin' 'mares' to probe-u-late?"

"Well, I was disguised as a noblemare before the real invasion would begin and--"

"Wait, hold up, A noblemare? You're messin' with me."

I shook my head again.

Rough waved me off. "Alright, alright. Go on, I'll stop interruptin'."

"I... was disguised as a noblemare just before the invasion was going to start. It was my job to go where ever the nobles would run away to and leave a pheromone trail for the warriors to find them. Their city's shields began to break, and the nobles retreated to an underground vault along with me. When we were there, the vault began to buckle from the debris and rubble crashing down from above along with large sections of the shield itself. So, not wanting to fail my mission, I reinforced the walls of the vault with my own magic until the warriors found us and began digging their way towards us. The guards with the noblemares and stallions heard them, and thought that they might be other ponies or rescuers and opened the vault. They found out they were wrong, and before they could close the door I held the lever in my own magic, allowing the warriors to flood into the room and subdue everypony there."

Rough frowned for a moment before replying. "So, anypony die?"

I paused, trying to remember if any had. "I don't think so?"

Rough leaned down to scratch my ears while I looked in confusion at them. "Well, that's a heck of a lot better'n I did."